Agile marketing essentials

Discover the 4 key ingredients of agile marketing.


Agile marketing is the ability to move fast, anticipate and react to customers’ needs and socially share the message. Agile marketing tends to apply to newer companies with fewer legacy systems in place. Companies that have succeeded with agile marketing and consequently disrupted the core market include

  • Amazon
  • Airbnb
  • Uber


The 4 key ingredients of an agile marketing mix include

  • Technology foundation
  • Live database
  • No or little inventory
  • Constant product development


Technology foundation

When Amazon started, many people said it was impossible to sell a book without someone picking it up to read part of the contents. Yet the opposite is true. As a company with a technology foundation, it found methods to overcome these objections, including:

  • Reviews from others
  • The star rating system
  • The look inside facility
  • The ‘one click’ buy now facility – we call this the magic button as it enables a super-speedy sale


Live database

Amazon was an early adopter of the live database concept. After registering with the site, which was often connected to a purchase, when you logged in the next time, it started to build your profile. No salesman called to take your details, no forms were required to complete and no telephone callers to confirm your address details. Seamless and instant data capture. It is one of the world’s best databases as it is accurate all the time and no admin support is needed. You organise a delivery, so you must ensure your address is up to date. You send gifts to friends, it can remind you to repeat the order a year later. Airbnb and Uber also use the live database and know your profile, where you’ve travelled and the search terms used.

The great benefits of a live database is that there is no work required by the admin team – the customers manage their own data and better still, it’s always up to date.

How much time do your team spend on the CRM?


No paid-for inventory

The largest hotel chain in the world, Airbnb, has no hotels. The largest taxi firm in the world, Uber doesn’t own a single cab. Imagine. Airbnb don’t need to organise the housekeeping service, no need to employ any doormen and no need to employ a late-night concierge.

It’s true there is a court case pending in the UK to consider whether Uber does or doesn’t employ its staff, but in the main people seem to choose Uber as an additional job. When I was a child my mother supplemented her income by picking apples in the summer at local farms – as many mothers did. Driving a taxi provides greater freedom and the ability to choose working hours or just work to a certain target to pay for a holiday.

Airbnb seems to have created a new breed of entrepreneurs. We’ve met two university graduates in Krakow who started renting out their own apartment, so much so that they bought another and another. They own three apartments and provide greater customer service, yet Airbnb didn’t need to enrol them on a single training course.

Amazon charges publishers and other vendors to stock their products. It has no need to pay for its own inventory and generates an income by stocking goods for others.

Many companies tie up funds in buying stock and then spend ages trying to market the available stock. A no-inventory model frees cash to promote the brand and requires creative application to develop the concept.


Constant product development

Amazon initially offered books. This evolved into games, video, clothing, office supplies and food selection. Amazon has the potential to become the largest food retailer within the next 3 years.

Airbnb started with accommodation for tourists. It has evolved to incorporate a business Airbnb. Companies can register with Airbnb and use as a corporate accommodation system. Airbnb hosts can provide ancillary services such as tour guiding, cookery classes and art workshops.



Uber is evolving from a taxi service to a logistics firm. Currently delivery offers include:

  • Food with UberEats
  • Parcels for small businesses via UberRush
  • Plus its Business travel service provides a travel management system for firms needing to deliver people to different destinations.


These agile businesses tend to experiment and try something new, using the core business skills. They also fail fast and if it doesn’t work, that’s fine, do something different. Plus they also seem to have a can do culture and focus on the art of the possible, not the impossible.

As these agile businesses continue to disrupt traditional markets, we expect Amazon to become the largest food retailer within 5 years. Uber will become a verb meaning ‘delivery’ as they extend into more transport and potentially challenge the long-established logistics firms such as DHL, Fedex and TNT. Airbnb will evolve with accommodation and experiences to become the world’s leading travel company. Flights by Uber, accommodation by Airbnb and the welcome good pack by Amazon.




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